Blind to the blah-blah-blah of corporate writing

So much of what we read as employees follows a standard format and includes stock phrases and meaningless jargon. We build up a similar level of immunity to this kind of content as we do to web adverts. Our eyes skim across it without taking in any of the meaning – assuming there is some meaning behind it in the first place.

I recently had to send out a request to fellow employees to fill in our twice-yearly customer satisfaction survey. I started writing the standard invite text and then stopped and decided to rip it up and start again. I wondered how I could make this stand out for people and carry some meaning. So I started again … below is what I sent out.

Amazingly, I had a number of people e-mail me back saying what a pleasure it was to receive this e-mail and how it made their day. The response rate to the survey itself was nearly 40% … staggeringly high for internal surveys of this nature.

As communicators, we all know that we could write in a more engaging style and take that little bit longer to think about how the stuff we send out will be received … the problem is, we rarely do anything about it. From now on … I will … 🙂


Man shouting at laptop

I could say: “Your feedback is valuable to us …”; or start by saying something like: “In a bid for continuous improvement … ”; but I’m guessing you’ve heard this stuff so often before it’s become pretty meaningless … so, although these things are true, I won’t bore you by repeating them again.

Instead, I’ll just say that we – the ecomms channels team that is – are trying really hard to support you and would like to invite you to help us to do that even more effectively by filling in our short customer survey. I’m afraid you won’t be entered into a prize draw for a once-in-a-lifetime holiday – let’s face it, you wouldn’t win it anyway – but you might just help us make your life that little bit easier in the future.

Go on … you know it makes sense … please fill in our survey – it’ll only take you about 10 minutes.

Thanks very much.

Kind regards,

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Does the internal communications profession have a future …?

If social media tools continue to flourish on corporate intranets, which I’m sure they will, the internal communications landscape will soon change beyond all recognition. In a future landscape supported by personal relationships, dominated by informal, micro-communication where communication is conversation, the internal comms profession will have to ply its trade in an environment which does not lend itself well to ‘managed’ communication – the current preferred method. So what will it do? How will it adapt?

That’s the focus of an article I recently wrote which appears on the Melcrum Internal Comms Hub today. As this is a subscription service and the article got chopped a bit to fit the Hub format, I’ve published the full-length original article here. I’d be interested to hear your views on the subject …

A comms context for social media tools

This is a diagram I used a year ago to try to give my internal comms colleagues a context for how social media tools might help them in their work. I stumbled across it in a dark corner of my C drive and thought I’d give it one more airing for old-times’-sake! It looks a bit simplistic now, but I remember it helped the penny drop for many of them …

Social media comms lifecycle